House, MD: Season 3, Episode 11 – “Words and Deeds”

I must say that I have been eagerly awaiting the new episode of House coming off the Christmas break. They had the perfect teaser going with House being in court and getting a phone call. What would happen? Would House go to jail? Would Tritter give in? Would House finally get treatment and get better? We finally got to see last night.

For the first time since I started watching House I was more interested in the sub-plot than the medical mystery. I’ve been digging the Tritter storyline all along, but there was always a slight amount of annoyance at the amount of time it was getting over that night’s patient. Last night I wanted nothing to do with the darn patient and everything to do with House’s personal life. It didn’t help that the patient story was way over the top and completely unbelievable.

We’ll start with that.

A firefighter breaks down just outside a blasting fire complaining that he’s cold. He’s brought into the hospital and treated by House’s people with very little interaction from House since he’s too busy with his own problems. Of course the patient gets worse and ultimately starts having heart attacks.

It turns out he has the heart attacks every time he sees his partner. Guess what? He’s secretly in love with her, but cannot tell her because she is engaged to his brother. (Oh brother!) It’s broken heart syndrome. His messed up body is attacking his heart because of the stress he feels over this woman.

The solution: electro-shock therapy which will erase his memories of this girl. Wow! That’s a little extreme. No, it’s a lot extreme. They do a decent job of talking about other solutions which will all fail, but still this method seems way out of line with the problem. A little too out of line to make it believable, even for House. Plus, I’m not all that knowledgeable about electro-shock therapy, but I’m pretty sure it is temperamental and wouldn’t necessarily knock out all of his memories so perfectly. But whatever, it’s just a TV show.

They shock him and it works perfectly, except for the fact that the partner and brother were not getting married, or even seeing each other romantically. Woops, looks like patient lied a little, but it’s not his fault his medical problem is causing faulty memories. So the electro-shock wasn’t a total mistake. It killed all his faulty memories too. Now all they need to do is create new ones.

Enough of that, what happened to House? Haven taken his punishment last time, House manages to apologize to Tritter. Sincerely and seemingly for real. Tritter doesn’t buy it and says that it’s not his words that matter, but his actions.

So, House goes to rehab. It seems to be working to. His calmer, thinking more clearly and even apologized to Wilson about blaming him for his problems. House apologizing twice! Who would have thunk it?

Tritter stops by to see the rehab and once again doesn’t give a crap. With this House calls him a few heated names saying he is doing everything Tritter wanted, but Tritter just throws off a few lines about junkies and they can’t be trusted.

During the preliminary trial (where a judge will decide if there is enough evidence to support a real trial,) House receives the phone call we saw in all the previews. It’s from his team and House walks out on the judge. It was cocky, and funny and just what we expect from House. Which was kind of nice during this whole apologizing stage.

When House returns Cuddy is on the stand and she perjures herself saying that the oxycodine that House swiped from the dead guy was actually a placebo and caused no harm. Because of this testimony the judge throws the whole case out. Again I’m no legal expert but it seems like the fact that he stole the drugs is the main point, not what the actual drug was. But again, TV show.

In jail (for House has to spend the night due to his walkout) Wilson gives him his drug dosage (which should be the stuff to wean him off Vicodin) House is too excited and Wilson realizes it is, in fact, Vicodin that the orderly at the rehab clinic has been slipping him.

House wins again.

Rating: ***

The House story was great, if slightly unbelievable. Ok, it was a lot unbeleivable. It kind of pisses me off that after all these week in dealing with Tritter, and going through this whole ordeal, basically nothing changes. House is himself, and Tritter will presumably continue doing what he does.

The whole time I kept wondering how the show would fair with a new and improved House, but since he’s cheating at rehab that’s a moot point. I still like the reliance on a side story, rather than just the medical ones, but they really need to strengthen the medical ones to keep fans happy.

The patient in this one was boring except when they shocked him which was totally over the top. It seems the writers are unable to complete two running stories going totally successfully. Hopefully they will figure it out soon.

For further reading, try Diane Kristine’s review of the episode.  She’s a little more miffed about the whole thing than me.  The show often stretches the bounds a little too much for me to take anything (good or bad) too seriously.


  • “Season of the Witch” by Donovan


  • House refers to his rehab guard as Voldemort, in reference to the Harry Potter villain of that name.
    House makes mention of deceased professional wrestler Andre the Giant as being his “higher power” in this episode.

One thought on “House, MD: Season 3, Episode 11 – “Words and Deeds”

  1. I just watched that particular episode! I don’t really watch TV, so I’m stuck renting the series on DVD from my local library. Anyway. Just wanted to let you know that I also had a problem with them using electro-shock therapy.

    It was a form of treatment overused in the mid-20th century. They would electro-shock women who refused to do housework and have kids, who wanted a career instead. Seriously! That sort of behaviour was once considered a mental disorder (some chauvinist pigs would still argue that today, but I digress). Nowadays the treatment is solely used as a last resort method in severely depressed psychiatric patients who have showed no progress with medications and therapies. We still don’t know exactly what it does to the brain. The side-effects can be quite brutal, and you’re right when you say that there’s no way the treatment would do such a clean job at erasing his long-term memories. Don’t hold me to this, but I think electro-shock might even sometimes provoke brain lesions. I’m not 100% sure though. My point is, it’s dangerous, used very *very* rarely, and only on patients who are hopelessly suicidal and wouldn’t want to live anyway. I think the script writers were getting bored, or one of them was pining for some chick that works PR for the studio.

    Otherwise, I’ve love the series so far. My library only has up to season three though, so I’m going to have to harass the head librarian to go shopping for more recent ones. The only other problem I have with the show though is the portrayal of social workers. Or non-portrayal, I should say.

    So far, I think I’ve only seen a social worker three times on the show. First time was when a newborn was taken in because it was underweight and social services was accusing the parents of neglect. That sort of accusation is very serious and not taken lightly. A social worker won’t just barge in a grab a child in its hospital bed to take it away. Doesn’t work that way. The second time was when a consult was needed for the supermodel teen who was seducing her dad. The social worker was in there for less than a minute!! It’s humanly impossible to make a correct assessment and ask questions in a strategic, sneaky way in order to get any sort of real, honest response. It’s as though she walked in and asked, “So, I hear you did the nasty with daddy. Is that true? No? Oh, nevermind then. Get well soon and have a nice day.” Again, doesn’t work that way. And the last time I saw one was the episode with the 18-year old brother raising his two orphaned siblings. He’s too overwhelmed to take care of them, so they’re handed over to social services. Not much detail there, but at least it was plausible.

    I don’t know exactly how social services work in the State, but in Canada the hospitals are loaded with social workers. We’re in almost every department, especially the ICU, trauma, ER, and cardio-thoracic wards. We don’t have to always wait before doing a consult. We act as the liaison between medical staff and patient/family. We make sure their transitions happen as smoothly as possible by filling out forms for social security if they can’t work for awhile, by contacting palliative care hospices if the patient is terminal with less than 3 months, by getting equipment and nursing services settled for when they’re discharged and still need support, etc. On the show, Dr. Cameron shows the sort of kindness, support and compassion social workers usually display to patients because doctors and nurses don’t have the time. They also don’t always have the training for tactful interactions (as so obviously demonstrated by our dear House).

    …oh my, I’ll end it here. Don’t want to overstay my welcome! Let me just say that it’s nice to know that someone else is out there, watching the show critically and not just for the entertainment factor.

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